More on Railroad Pass, Clark County, Nevada

Crushed and panned out some of that grey colored volcanic rock I collected two days ago. Appears to be plain old basalt. Before doing anything with it, I ran my Falcon over the material, just to see if I could get lucky. I didn’t although several pieces were metallic, although ferrous. Hard to tell what they are and iron related pieces are common seemingly everywhere a prospector goes.


I crushed and panned out some rocks to fifty mesh, producing a few gold glinting specks in the pan. Always assume pyrite or mica. I had found mica on the hill on my last trip but pyrite I suppose was possible. One fleck did interest me because it appeared corrugated and granular, not flat like mica.


The piece turned out to be mica, though. Didn’t need the scope. Looking at the piece on its side with a 10X loupe showed its platy character, that onion skin like texture that mica has, in the way it can be peeled back in sheets. I rendered the image below into monochrome.


By Pascal Terjan from London, United Kingdom – MicaUploaded by Magnus Manske, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

I’m a total beginner with a microscope. I use this plastic lid with embossed lettering to orient me. I place a speck of something near some letter and I can then find the speck near the letter. Everything is reversed under my scope. Move something to the right and it goes to the left.


Chief problem with any microscope work is keeping stray animals from interfering. John Charles Fremont The Explorer was tremendously interested in my project and repeatedly tried to help. Alas, no help at all. I usually hook up the scope to my desktop computer since the microscope camera draws power from a USB port. I have not yet heard, however, my laptop’s fans come on. So, the draw must be low. My LED lights are powered by the mains, I wish they were dimmable.


Another view of my setup. Note the lettering of the lid on the computer screen that I mentioned before. This is a Chinese scope that I could afford. Not the best optics but an integrated digital camera. Without such an approach, you are forced to kludge together a scope with a digital camera that you might have, trying to get various lens adapters to work, finding the right lens to begin with, and so on. Nightmare.


Crushing out the bigger rocks on an empty road with my hand sledge and a small rock crusher.


Crushed pieces revealed a fair amount of quartz. That surprised me since none was visible before I broke the rocks down. But quartz is one of the biggest rock building minerals so perhaps this is not surprising. Perhaps this is not even basalt, rather something more granitic.


I will try to get back to the Pass tomorrow to get some samples from the gullies I mentioned in the last post I wrote at my personal writing site. Click here to go there. 

https://thomasfarleyblog.com/2020/03/31/back-to-railroad-pass-clark-county-nevada/

The Alunnite Mine, Alunite Mining District, Clark County, Nevada, USA (Link to Mindat.org)

Clark County image from the:

Index of Granitic Rock Masses in the State of Nevada By FLORIAN MALDONADO, RICHARD W. SPENGLER, W.F. HANNA, and G.L. DIXON
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy
A compilation of data on 205 areas of exposed granitic rock masses in Nevada
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY BULLETIN 1831



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A Quick Search for Camptonite

Why don’t more rockhounds collect rocks? I don’t know. As to me, I like rocks, the odder the better. Today I’ll spend a little time looking for camptonite south of Las Vegas. I have some specific coordinates so I shouldn’t be wandering too much. This particular spot is not within the LMNRA. The rock will be there or it won’t.

Camptonite might win a prize for strangeness, with Mindat.org classifying it as an “Exotic crystalline igneous rock.” It looks better than the rocks I have which are peppered with black tourmaline.

Here’s a picture of my reference sample, a display quality piece I got last year from RC at Geological Specimen Supply. It’s out of stock right now but you should check his website frequently to keep building your reference collection. Yes, of rocks.

“The lessons of geology are clear and it is foolish not to take advantage of them: to be successful in hunting for minerals and gemstones, the collector and prospector must know not only the minerals themselves, but the rocks in which they are most likely to be found. He must also learn what minerals make up the various kinds of rocks and the rock formations which appear favorable for mineral deposits.”

John Sinkankas John. Prospecting for Gemstones and Minerals (Van Nostrand: New York. 1970)




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Beyond Books

It was recently recommended on an FB page that I read some field guides on rock and mineral ID. This was in response to some specific observations I made with material I had collected and with reference specimens I had bought. The suggester offered no further advice or any response to my observations which he didn’t read through. At least five people gave him a thumbs up. That’s extremely discouraging when all I was trying to do was help.

Well, I have a few books. Quite a lot, actually. But you have to go beyond books to learn more. You can’t teach a geology course without lab work or field trips. Books are fine but rocks and minerals and prospecting are also hands on.

To make specific, this poster stated that, among other things, that some sedimentary rocks do not fizz under acid. But he didn’t tell me which ones. Nothing of his personal experience with this, just an admonition to read some books. None of the books I have read list the sedimentary rocks that do not respond. I was trying to learn, not sure what he was trying to do. I was sharing my experiences and observations, he was sharing nothing but negativity.

This is a look at part of my reference collection of over two hundred rock types and various minerals. They are mostly hand or teaching specimen size. All labeled in detail. At any time I can pull something out to test or experiment it using my hardness picks, my acid, my metal detectors, my UV lamps, my black and white streak plates, my super magnet, my microscope, or my geiger counters. No, I don’t have something for specific gravity. I’m working on that. If I can’t identify something complex, which is too often the case, I send it on for lab results. I’m not a know-it-all, I am trying to be a know-it-all.

As a footnote, I’ve quit that group. This is the second major rock related group I have quit in the last year. If you think I can help you, give me an e-mail. I may not have the right answer but I will try to help. Without insulting you.



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Mineral Habit in Tucson (another mineral show)

Mineral Habit is setting up in Tucson right now. It’s a collection of vendors focused primarily on minerals. Address is 1920 North Oracle Road in Tucson. Their billboard website supplies the map below.

Wendi “Ace” Elkins will be there, she of Minerals Unlimited in Ridgecrest, California. (internal link) If you haven’t met her, visited her store, or wasted enormous sums of money at her website buying obscure minerals that leave your family cursing you for flagrant, wanton, and irresponsible spending , then your life has been pathetic and small. Redeem yourself by visiting Mineral Habitat starting on February 4th through the 10th.

As with every show, go with cash in small bills and lots of them. Not all vendors take plastic. If you do use credit cards in Tucson, call your credit card company ahead of time. Dealers come from all over the world so charges may appear from Nairobi, Indonesia, Malaysia, or Murmansk.

Please tell Wendi that Thomas Farley sent you. With luck she won’t jump back or call 911. My past purchases mark me as insane but as a madman with a little money, I am tolerated.  Ace has been working in the same shop in Ridgecrest since she was eight and is a delight to talk to. I have rarely stumped her with my requests and all things come neatly labeled.

I’ve built my rare earth mineral collection nearly totally from her inventory. So, if you yearn for  xenotime (Y) with biotite  from Iveland, Setesdal, Norway, then you need to talk to Ace. And if you don’t need that, talk to her anyway. You’ll find something.





Some of my rare earth mineral collection, recently depleted a bit.





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Day Three In Quartzsite, Arizona – 2020

NB: Short URL for this page: https://wp.me/p9Ykms-Mn

Friday at the QIA PowWow and Desert Gardens

Day Three of the QIA PowWow greeted everyone again with perfect weather. Cool mornings and then long sleeve shirt weather in the afternoon. Wind picking up later in the day but no more than a breeze.

Day Three at The QIA PowWow 2020 from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Although I was trying to keep focused through the day, my mind kept returning to a location I discovered halfway between Parker and Quartzsite while investigating railroad ballast. (external link) My gold prospecting spidey sense kept tingling. Yes, I may be talking to you. But I’d rather leave to sample some black sand. Gold fever is a true sickness. (internal link)

I was at the PowWow only long enough to exchange a piece of eudialyte that I had bought the day before  from Alexander BlagulaAll of the previous night my purchase had bothered me. I had settled for what I could afford, not the cab I truly wanted. Before heading to Quartzsite I stopped at Wells Fargo in Parker to get the extra money I needed. Alexander seemed happy to see me, as I think he knew what I wanted to do. With graciousness he took back my first stone and gave complete credit for the new cab. In the way he talked and acted, I got the feeling that he was glad I was buying his best material. This video is from the day before.

Alexander Balagula of Unique Russian Mineral from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Desert Gardens

I took a few videos of the crowd at the PowWow and then moved across I-10 to Desert Gardens. To make it there, I used the frontage road as I had always done. Before you get to Desert Gardens, however, you have to pass through the Tyson Wells venue area. That venue sells a variety of things, not just rocks. It was complete madness, just looking at the teeming crowds put me nearly into a panic attack. I couldn’t imagine anyone voluntarily entering that swarm yet hundreds, if not thousands, seemed happy to do so.

Once at Desert Gardens things calmed down. The aisles are wider than the PowWow, making it seem more relaxed. The food, though, expect for the hot dogs, was limited and disappointing. I think the food is prepared by vendors who pay to be there, rather than cooked by happy volunteers. I’d bring your own food as you will probably be wandering for several hours. The big rocks are here, especially of rough of all kinds. Every vendor was from somewhere different, each had their own story and their own experiences. Each was an expert on at least several of the rocks or minerals they were selling. They all have their favorites, although they are often hesitant to name them. A number of fluorescent mineral dealers were at Desert Gardens. I didn’t see any radioactive minerals.

The first folks I met were at P.V. Rocks. Gary Peavy owns this business and he hails from Peoria, Illinois. He does some regional shows but once a year he gets out to Quartzsite. Wide variety of materials with much from the Midwest. E-mail is pvsrocks@aol.com and his website is https://pvsrocks.com.

PV’s Rocks at Desert Gardens, Quartzsite, 2020 from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


I was finally able to meet up with R.C. of Geological Specimen Supply (external link). He hand carried my latest order to me, rather than posting it as usual. Just what I needed, another box of rocks. He pointed out T-Cat in his van. R.C. always takes a cat collecting with him. He had been looking at PowWow for what I used to call peridot in vesicular basalt. I think he is saying it is actually peridotite xenolith in basalt. I think. I always have to read up on what R.C. says to me. It’s a great learning experience. He answered some of my pesky rock questions and seemed interested in the crazy looking railroad ballast I had seen near the La Paz County Fairground. Yes, rockhounds and geologists are interested in railroad ballast.

I also caught up with the Keadys of Rockchuck in Schurz, Nevada. (external link) I’ve written extensively on them before. Chelsea is continuing lapidary while awaiting the birth of her first child. I have their video on a previous page, but, what the heck, here it is again.

The Keadys of Rockchuck in Schurz, Nevada from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

After many tries, I also managed to find Laura Fitzpatrick, otherwise known as #geologistonboard. She is an Instagram influencer, who has thousands of followers. She writes extensively and in depth on geology and travels the world with her husband hunting and investigating everything rock related. She recently toured the Himalayas, reporting on each step of the way through Instagram. It’s all about the Gram. She agreed to an impromptu interview inside her well kitted Geo Mobile, a specially outfitted four wheel Mercedes van. She turned out to be a real gold bug and marvelled over my gold in quartz jewelry, insisting on taking pictures of the pieces. I tried not to bore her with my prospecting stories but she followed every detail of my accounts. Through the internet she is helping thousands learn about geology and to give people accounts and pictures of places most of us will never see.

#geologistonboard

Geologist on Board in The Geo Mobile AKA Flint from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


I also talked with David Bintliff of the Rock Broker. See the video below. My big regret was that I did not stay or ask that he light up these rocks. I tried to make it the next day but bridge traffic was terrible. If you meet David, he does have lamps on site and I am sure he will show you what is happening with these multi-mineral, multi-UV colored rocks.

David Bintliff of the Rock Broker. 605-593-6012.

David Bintliff of the Rock Broker at Desert Gardens in Quartzsite, Arizona from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


It was a treat, too, to meet the folks at Jim’s Rough Rocks who have a banner proclaiming Ocean Breeze Jasper. Their Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/JimsRoughRocks/Ocean

They are from Redmond, Oregon. Not the Redmond in Washington State, home to Microsoft, but Redmond, Oregon. I messed up on the video and misstated their business name. Apologies. Will try to fix.

Jim’s Rough Rocks at Desert Gardens in Quartzsite. 2020. from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


A few more hours in Quartzsite tomorrow and then I head off Saturday afternoon for Kingman, Arizona. Stay tuned.

Pow Wow Show Promoters
Mike & Carolyn Zinno
928-927-6325
PowWow@QIAarizona.org

Quartzsite Improvement Association
235 E. Ironwood Avenue, Quartzsite, AZ 85346
http://qiaarizona.org


You can read more about Quartzsite at Rock&Gem’s website and Facebook page. (external link). I was covering the day to day at the PowWow for them this year and I have written extensively on all things Quartzsite in the past.

 

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Day Two of The QIA PowWow in Quartzsite, Arizona 2020

Thursday at the QIA PowWow

Thursday brought another day of beautiful weather to Quartzsite. A few wisps of clouds appeared from time to time, somewhat relieving the sun’s powerful glare. Temperatures rose into the high 60’s in the afternoon, shirt sleeve-weather but best taken in with a long sleeve shirt to prevent sunburn.


The day got warm enough that an alert went over the public address system about a few dogs that had been left in cars. Their owners were told to get back quickly to their vehicles before the police started breaking windows. This brings up the matter of dogs at Quartzsite – they are all over.

On a leash, hand carried, or in a stroller, big dogs and little dogs are all about the aisles at the PowWow. I’ve never seen a dog fight but there are occasional lunges and a few sharp barks. Young dogs are around that may not be used to crowds and there are tiny dogs that are vulnerable. Every owner I saw seemed to have a dog that was socialized or mostly so. The dog community is fully present at the PowWow as you hear constant compliments from people on each other’s dogs. Big dogs seem to draw the most likes.

I could only visit a few vendors as I got wrapped up in long talks with each about their materials and collecting. I met quite a few people who knew people who I knew. One example was Kirk Brock at Rock Solid Jade at space 490. I showed him my jade key fob to see if he could identity its locality. He thought it most probably nephrite from Mendocino County in California. I said I carved it in Hesperia at the Mining Supplies and Rock Shop during a jade carving class taught by Mariana Shoupe. “Oh, yes,” Kirk said, I know her quite well. I think she is here now at the show. ”

This video looked great on my phone but it and a few others changed from landscape to portrait layout. I’ve attempted to rescue it with a frame.

Rock Solid Jade with Kirk Brock from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


Another example was when I fell into two people who kept mentioning Utah locations for agates. I then noticed that one had a Southern Utah Rock Club hat on. “I’m a member!”, I exclaimed. “I know Lynn. He showed me a great place for field agates that I would never have found otherwise.” They smiled and said they knew this place near Cedar City well. The couple lived in Mesquite, Nevada and when the weather got too hot they would drive to that higher elevation to collect during the summer. This conversation took place at the space for Johnson Brothers Lapidary.
https://www.johnsonbrotherslapidary.com



I’ve written that you’ll never know who you’ll meet in Quartzsite. Proof of that was when I stopped at Mike Martin’s space, number 239 and 240. Lots of fossils. I am not a fossil guy but I know they are popular and I haven’t covered fossils. So, I asked for permission to photograph and started asking questions. He looked at my business card and started repeating my last name. “Farley, Farley, Farley.” I thought perhaps he had read one of my articles for Rock&Gem. Instead, he asked if I had any relatives in Humboldt County, California. I started to cry but held back my tears. “Just my late brother.” “That was Tim! Biff Barker! He worked for me when I owned the radio station in Eureka. He was great. Everybody loved him. Great sense of humor.” Tim worked a long time in radio and Eureka was where he found a home. He did morning drive and was absolutely fun to listen to. Mike allowed Tim to be himself and it was a very emotional time for me as we both exchanged memories of my past brother. Mike, by the way, does an enormous amount of self collecting and coin and relict hunting in England. Well worth a stop.

Mike Martin’s e-mail is paleomike@aol.com

Mike Martin / Detector and Fossil Sales from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


Inside the main hall are displays and, as always, the Ottesens. I didn’t get a chance to ask them about how they are restarting the fee digs but they are. I’ve been out to the Royal Royston for my first Rock&Gem article and also to their Broken Arrow claim last year. Both terrific experiences.
https://ottesonbrothersturquoise

Inside the QIA Main Building from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


Alexander Balagula of Unique Russian Mineral at space 326 provided me a chance to try out my rusty Russian. Alexander didn’t correct me on my “Good morning and how are you greeting?” I felt good about that. He showed me some beautiful free form cabs of eudialyte on which he said he founded his business. He lists Fort Lee, New Jersey as his business address and the stone I eventually bought comes from the Kola Peninsula in Russia. To add to that that sense of going around the world, Alexander is a Russian Jew who lived for many years in Israel.

When someone asked him about his sign, Unique Russian Mineral and what it was, he smiled and said it mostly refers to himself. I liked his sense of humor. He will be in Tucson. His business card lists a website and an Etsy page but they don’t easily reflect his offerings. The Etsy store is gemstoneworld. Try his e-mail or these phone numbers. E-mail: abalagula@verizon.net. Cell phone: 201-647-4211. I had buyers’ remorse about the stone I bought and Alex gave me full credit for the returned cab. I wanted what you see in the photo below but settled for something more affordable on Thursday. Don’t settle or you’ll go through a painful night of reconsideration. Yes, I got that piece with the plume of yellow sphene or titanite on Friday. I understand your jealously.



At one point I heard Pink Floyd being played on an acoustic guitar being played by a young man who calls himself DanTheCabMan. That’s an Instagram handle for those who don’t know. He played “Wish you Were Here” and I wished every rockhound could be there in Quartzsite, too. In the video he says he won’t sing. I promised I wouldn’t, either.

#danthecabman from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


Here’s a photo on Thursday of what I used to call vesicular basalt with peridot. Not particularly wonderful specimens but a teaching moment. I am now told this is more properly termed vesicular porphyritic olivine basalt. Of, course.


Practical points. I found my fabric and rubber hiking boots worked very well for walking the aisles. After all, I hike in them all day so it made sense they would work here. Whatever you use, make sure they are comfortable and perhaps have a backup pair in your vehicle in case they don’t. Also, I found getting in touch with people is extremely difficult these days because everyone has their own preferences. Some use a mobile phone, others e-mail, some text, some message by Instagram or Facebook. I don’t have advice on overcoming this but you may want to make arrangements before hand if you are meeting someone in Quartzsite. While the vendors will all be in a certain location, your friends may be bouncing all over towns at different venues. Speaking of which, tomorrow I will be going back to the PowWow for a little bit and then hitting Desert Gardens across the highway later on. Different material, bigger stuff, lots of rough.

Bonus footage! Non-Pow-Wow. I almost forgot Miner’s Depot, a Quartzsite institution. I did a video on them on this second day and they are worth a lot more in print than I have time for here. They are less than a half mile north of city center. Great people. Gold spoken there.

Miners Depot in Quartzsite, Arizona from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Pow Wow Show Promoters
Mike & Carolyn Zinno
928-927-6325
PowWow@QIAarizona.org

Quartzsite Improvement Association
235 E. Ironwood Avenue, Quartzsite, AZ 85346
http://qiaarizona.org


You can read more about Quartzsite at Rock&Gem’s website and Facebook page. (external link). I was covering the day to day at the PowWow for them this year and I have written extensively on all things Quartzsite in the past.


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Consolidated Rock and Mineral in Vacaville, California

Consolidated Rock and Mineral

5115 Quinn Rd
Vacaville, California 95688
707-448-5525

38°23.675′ N 121°55.615′ W

I’ve been going here since the late 1960s when I was a kid. I’m not a kid any longer and I am still going. Ask if you don’t see what you are looking for. Or ask if they have a less expensive specimen if something on a shelf is too much. They have many things underneath the counter or in back. They keep their radioactive minerals off the main floor, for example, so be sure to ask to see them.

A little difficult to find because it is on a frontage road. A metal sided building tucked into oleanders. The parking lot won’t be possible for RVs or trailers so you may have to walk in a ways. No public bathrooms, you may want to use the fast food places nearby at the freeway which is I-80.

Great winter hours!

This URL might work, otherwise, Google:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Consolidated-Rock-Mineral-Shop-Ll-C/136668809715266

Google map link:

https://goo.gl/maps/a5XdX6PM5KC5KRrQ6

Click on an image TWICE to get the full picture. One click simply produces a thumbnail. Click on the thumbnail to get the full size photo.



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Version 11 of My Places to Visit and Collect in The Southwest is Out

I continue to build this file which is the most current and accurate accounting of rock shops and fee/digs for the Southwestern United States.

I am now starting to include Northern California information.

Much more hyperlinking and bookmarking must be done in the document to make its over 100 pages and 25,000 words easer to navigate. It is a work in progress.

Go to this page for the .pdf file and the mobile friendly Kindle file.

https://southwestrockhounding.com/sw-travel-list/

 

 

 


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Tuff, Explosion Tuff, and a Cat

Got to get out the door quick to hound some more ground. A few words here on tuff since I am investigating a tuff formation outside of Las Vegas. See previous posts.

Tuff are rocks formed from solidified or lithified volcanic ash and rock fragments thrown out of a vent. They can be all colors and densities but a common feature are clasts, rock fragments within the tuff. Not all tuff contains clasts but this is very common.

UPDATE: November 11, 2019. Made a better video than the previous. Retains cat content.

Volcanic Tuff and Cat from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Most of my tuff reference specimens come from here:

https://geologicalspecimensupply.com/?step=contact_information

I might have found an example of explosion tuff. This is where rocks settled onto the ash, rather than being embedded in it. Need to collect more of that, break some of it open, look for other things while I am out in the field, and on and on. . .

Another look at this possible explosion tuff and a still photo of what I am calling “The Shark”. A single, angular clast sticking out of tuff from the same area. Looks like basalt to me. Is this explosion tuff?

Explosion Tuff? from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

The Shark

—-

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Version 9 of the Southwest Travel List is Out!

My latest list of Places to Visit and Collect in the Southwest is the best ever.  This post may say Version 9 but I have since done Revision 10.

https://southwestrockhounding.com/sw-travel-list/

Or get it here:

Version 10, November 6,  2019

This page always has the latest version of my Places to Visit and Collect in the Southwest. (And beyond!)

.pdf (Printing and desktop work)

Version 10 , November 6, 2019

SW_Places_To_Visit_Or_Collect_10A_

 

 

 

.mobi (Kindle format for mobile devices):

Version 10, November 6, 2019 

SW Places To Visit Or Collect 10 – Tom Farley


 

 

 

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